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I have had a recent interest in playing a Chaotic Evil character, but most campaigns I have run into are decidedly not Chaotic Evil-aligned. The Chaotic-aligned parties are usually also Good-aligned, while the Evil-aligned parties are usually also Lawful-aligned, and of course there are quite a few campaigns where the party is both Lawful- and Good-aligned, but few are Chaotic Evil-aligned for many, many obvious reasons.

Assuming I can find a GM willing to allow a Chaotic Evil character into their (likely) Good-aligned party, how should I go about integrating my character into that party in such a way that it is not disrupted?

For the purposes of this question, assume the following definitions of Evil and Chaos:

Evil: Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

Chaos: Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Also assume that I am playing a Sorcerer, Bloodrager, or Bard. As of this writing, I am undecided.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Theik, 40355 says Reinstate Monica, NathanS, Miniman, Akixkisu Jul 12 at 12:07

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't imagine this question will lead to anything other than a lot of highly opinion-based answers unless you very clearly list what you intend your character to do and don't do, rather than just listing the general definitions of evil and chaos, which are open to a very wide interpretation. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Jul 12 at 6:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ This revision of the question still leans too heavily on alignment as a defining factor to escape the existing problems. My suggestion is to rewrite it in a way that doesn't reference alignment at all, but instead references specific characters (the one you're interested in playing, and the ones in the party you're interested in joining) and their behaviors/ideals/etc. \$\endgroup\$ – 40355 says Reinstate Monica Jul 12 at 6:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sevenbrokenbricks The problem with your suggestion is that it then applies far too specifically to one situation, and may not then be helpful to a wider audience. I'd also have to create a theoretical party for the character to join, and ignore the much larger question I'm attempting to address in an already specified way: how to play a chaotic evil character in a good-aligned party. \$\endgroup\$ – Brandon Olson Jul 12 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Theik Even your comment assumes a certain definition that is hard to address. "I'd like to kill people" should be the theme of most damaging character builds of any alignment. \$\endgroup\$ – Brandon Olson Jul 12 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ The primary benefit of questions should be for the asker (i.e. you); if others find the question useful, they can always upvote it. Otherwise, if you try to phrase the question as broadly as possible, you run the risk of asking a question that is too broad to be meaningfully answered here. Rather than asking in a way you think will be helpful to others, you should ask about an actual problem you yourself are facing. Related meta: Why was my question closed as too broad, unclear, or opinion-based? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 13 at 0:09
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I will answer based on my experience, which spurred from a tutorial-kind of video from a long time player/GM.

Not going to lie, playing someone with a radically different worldview from your group will be at best complicated. You can manage by following some simple rules:

Be a good villain

Meaning, you are evil only to people that are not part of your group. By extend, also avoid being evil towards helpful NPCs.

You can be evil, but that does not means you have to be stupid. Most of us have seen this evil party where everyone is a sadistic sociopath that revels in killing random people in the street with the sole justification of "Muuuh evul much, have no choice".

A good villain (as in an efficient one) is ruthless when it is called for. Your best interest has to align with the group best interest. Maybe you don't care much for the granddaughter of that old lady who got swallowed by a wolf. But your group does, and your group makes your life easier. So play along, and help that bunch of goodies two shoes to find that wolf, because sometime later, you will need them ready to help you.

Be a good chaotic

"There is a method to this person madness". You do what you do because you have a reason to. You do not play Evil Stupid. You play Chaotic Evil, and laws and social norms are hurdles to other people. You, on the other hand, know when to play outside the rules. But once again, do it efficiently.

You are walking down the street and trip a children/murder an elder because "Muuuh chaotic, have no choice"? Not efficient. Lot of trouble for no reward.

Your party badly needs that piece of intel secreted in the evil lord safe? Sure they can try to talk their way with the authorities. Ooooor, you could sneak into the EL's office, and steal the paper. Of course, it's not Lawful, but who cares? You got the job done, didn't you?

Be a team player

All of this boils down to one point. You're not there to derail the whole group, you're there to play along and help pushing the group forward. Your teammates may be more or less okay with your methods. Beforehand, talk to them about what you want to play, and how you can all come to an agreement. I would also suggest talking with the GM, since you might have to do some things away from the eyes of your party's members. Maybe your paladin won't abide you stealing right in front of his/her/their nose. But maybe the player can look away, so everyone can have a nice, fun experience. Because in the end, that's what playing RPG should be about.

Source:
GREAT PC: How to play an evil character in a RPG, the video mentionned at the beginning. We have somewhat different rules, and the creator is ready to go way further than I dared when playing an Evil character, but it is good to listen to other people experience to make your own mind and figure what is the right call given the group you're playing with.

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I've seen this tried a few times in the past, and it's difficult. There are two main approaches:

Being openly CE

This doesn't work. If the party isn't willing to associate with evil characters, then they simply won't regard you as part of the group, and may feel that they should prevent you doing evil, via imprisonment, conversion in some way, or death.

Even if the group's play style doesn't support "You're of evil alignment, so we won't associate with you", you're likely to fall into conflict with them over many things, such as prisoners, interrogation techniques, attitudes to ordinary people, and so on.

Being secretly CE

This is far more workable - for a while. If you regard yourself as infiltrating the party for some nefarious purpose, then it's reasonable to act like someone with a good alignment, so as to gain their confidence. However, you'll need an objective to be striving towards, or an outlet for your CE impulses.

If you have an objective, it's unlikely to be one that the rest of the party are happy about. Good-aligned characters tend to get peevish when you steal the quest object and run off to deliver it to the Temple of Ick, or the rescued princess vanishes, or they find themselves starring in the Sacrifice of the Century ceremony. So this approach tends not to go down well with players and DMs who aspire to more conventional campaign structures.

Having an outlet, in secretly doing evil acts, can work if you have a co-operative DM, and you can manage to keep your evil small-scale, or the good characters are unobservant. However, you'll probably get caught in the end, which is likely to result in your death or expulsion from the party.

Overall, evil characters tend to work better in evil parties, if those can manage to hold together.

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